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July 2013

The MCC's approach to impact Evaluation

Markus Goldstein's picture
In our continuing series on discussing institutional approaches to impact evaluation, DI virtually sat down with Jack Molyneaux, Director of Independent Evaluations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  (Please note that these are Jack’s opinions, not that of the MCC)
 
DI:  Impact Evaluation seems to be something that's pretty important at the MCC. Can you tell us a bit about how this focus came about? 
JM: Since its inception MCC’s mandate has included demonstrating results.  Rigorous impact evaluations have always been a key component of that mandate. 

Video: Helping Jordan and Lebanon cope with influx of Syrian refugees

Ferid Belhaj's picture

 

 

"Syria's neighbors, Lebanon and Jordan in particular, have shown tremendous hospitality and tremendous generosity [in hosting the influx of Syrian refugees]. The international community needs to help them carry that burden, as they should not have to bear it alone." Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director.

Tertiary Education at a Crossroads: Tales from Different Parts of the World

Francisco Marmolejo's picture

It has been seven months since I joined The World Bank as a Lead Education Specialist coordinating their work on tertiary education. During this short period, I have met with people from across the globe, read a variety of reports, and participated in technical review meetings and missions with government officials and institutional leaders. In summary, I have been learning as fast as I can, about how this fascinating but complex organization operates, and about its unique contribution (not exempt from controversy) to development in the world.

These past few months have taken me across the world, from Latin America, to the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and Europe, on a journey that has provided me the unique and privileged opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that tertiary education is facing in the world. It is precisely such reasoning that led us, at the World Bank to organize a year-long lecture and panel series entitled “Tertiary Education at a Crossroads” during which we hope to engage in collective reflection on issues and trends in tertiary education, and confront them with an ambitious agenda towards eliminating extreme poverty in the world, by enabling shared prosperity in a sustainable planet.
 

Prospects Daily: Indonesian rupiah falls, Euro Area consumer confidence at near 2-year high, Brazil current account deficit narrows

Financial and Commodity Markets…Global equities advanced on Tuesday, with the benchmark index gearing for a five-year high, as investors speculated that Chinese government will increase spending in an effort to maintain annual economic growth of at least 7%. Robust earnings reports from major U.S. companies also propelled the S&P 500 index to a fresh record high in morning trade.  The MSCI world stock index is up 0.3%, within reaching distance of five-year high reached in May.

Bangkok post 2011 floods: how about the poor?

Zuzana Stanton-Geddes's picture

Also available in Thai

The wet season has already arrived in Thailand, and with it, also memories of the devastating floods that in 2011 affected more than 13 million people, left 680 dead, and caused US$46.5 billion in damages and losses. The impact of the floods on businesses and global supply chains has been well-documented with accounts making headlines throughout 2012. But how about the poor?

The flooding altered the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women - particularly those in already precarious situations. Two years onwards, what has changed? Having visited two slum upgrading projects in north Bangkok last month, there are insights relevant for other Asian cities grappling with rapidly growing populations, the force of natural hazards, and climatic uncertainties.

When Robots Attack!

Tanya Gupta's picture

Robots have been a part of our mythology for thousands of years, the emphasis alternating between their positive transformative power over human society and acting as agents of great destruction.  Our image of robots has been shaped to a large extent by Hollywood and literature.  Celluloid robots in Star Wars, 2001 Space Odyssey, Robocop, Star Trek and many of Isaac Asimov’s novels have become a part of the human story.  Off-celluloid, robots have been helping our society in concrete ways (for example police work (bomb disposal), infrastructure projects etc.).  However when Watson won Jeopardy it brought artificial intelligence and robotics a new kind of attention.  People started to wonder if robots could replace humans.  When we think of robots we think of self driven cars, household robots or even warrior robots.  However, in our view, the influence of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more subtle and their presence more ubiquitous than one would think. One such impacted sector is the agriculture sector (in the US) which is on the cusp of a massive transformation, as it moves from mechanization to automation. When rolled out and commercialized (soon) this massive scale of automation will have a significant impact on US farming and on immigration for sure.  But does this also impact the development landscape? If so how?

Agricultural robotic systems have been implemented in fruit and vegetable harvesting, greenhouses and nurseries. Harvest Automation, for example, has developed the the HV-100, a 90-pound robot for commercial nurseries that can pick up and rearrange potted plants. There are quite a few silicon valley startups that are contributing to this revolution in the region known as “America’s Salad Bowl”, around Salinas Valley. California, where Salinas Valley is located, produced $1.6 billion dollars worth of lettuce in 2010 and 70%+ of all lettuce grown in America. Lettuce Bot, a new robot developed by Stanford engineers Jorge Peraud and Lee Redden, both from farming families from Peru and Nebraska, can “produce more lettuce plants than doing it any other way” (Yahoo Finance).  Lettuce Bot’s innovation is that while attached to a tractor, it takes pictures of passing plants and compares these to a database. When the weed or a lettuce head that is too close to another one is identified, a concentrated dose of fertiliser is sprayed. A close shot of fertilizer kills the errant weed or lettuce head but actually feeds the further off crops at the same time.

Women's Leadership Groups in Pakistan – Some Good News and Inspiration

Duncan Green's picture

I normally try and keep Oxfam trumpet-blowing to a minimum on this blog, but am happy to make an exception for this piece from Jacky Repila (right) on a new report on our Raising Her Voice programme in Pakistan, a country that ranks 134th out of 135 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index (only Yemen is worse).

When Veeru Kohli stood as an independent candidate in Hyderabad’s provincial elections on 11th May, she made history.

Kohli is poor. Making the asset declaration required of candidates, Kohli listed just two beds, five mattresses, cooking pots and a bank account with life savings of 2,800 rupees, wages for labourers in Karachi are around 500 rupees a day.

She’s a member of a minority group – Hindus represent less than 6 per cent of the country’s total population. The vision of tolerance and inclusion of Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has sadly been eroded as we can see from the 500 Pakistani Hindus who recently fled to India to escape discrimination.

She’s uneducated and does not boast the political connections or patronage of most politicians. In fact she has ruffled feudal feathers, escaping captivity from her former landlord and fighting in the courts for the release of other bonded labourers.

And then of course, she’s a woman.  Only 3 per cent of all candidates contesting the general seats for the National Assembly were women.

And yet…. in spite of the inevitable establishment backlash seeking to devalue her credentials, on 11th May six thousand people voted for her. Although not enough to win the seat, the fact of Kohli’s standing is in itself a remarkable act.

Value Chains and me: It’s more than just fashion

Yara Salem's picture


The value chain approach is in vogue for leading global firms and manufacturers (Credit: World Bank)

This is the first post in the “Supply Chain Junkie" series, which gives personal insights on supply chains- -the “new normal" of doing business that is currently being prioritized by IFC.


My debut in the fashion industry has not been easy, to say the least. I thought my ideas would speak for themself, but I’ve come to realize that I must significantly sharpen my design execution skills if I am to opt for a life in the fashion world. Through my journey into the ephemeral world of haute-couture and prêt-à-porter, I have come to know, understand and appreciate the brain behind the world’s leading fashion companies, including their business model, adaptive, expansionist and survival strategies and, of course, their logistics management practices. It was this very fascination with the fashion industry that made me eager to learn more about how lead fashion companies manage their products’ lifecycle and Value Chain (VC). I, thus, became more interested in the VC approach to doing business than ever. This might explain my excitement when my department at IFC decided to get into this terrain.

Prospects Daily: US oil prices at par with global crude prices, European government debt at historic high, Brazil industrial confidence weakens further

Financial and Commodity Markets…US oil prices have reached parity with the global crude benchmark Brent for the first time in almost three years. WTI, the US benchmark, whose September contract reached the same level as September Brent, was last at parity with the North Sea contract in October 2010. WTI has traded at a discount to Brent over the past few years as a surge in US oil production – due to the shale boom – led to a glut at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the US benchmark.

Learning from Data-Driven Delivery

Aleem Walji's picture

Given confusion around the phrase “science of delivery,” it’s important to state that delivery science is not a “one-size-fits-all” prescription based on the premise that what works somewhere can work anywhere. And it does not profess that research and evidence ensure a certain outcome.
 
A few weeks ago, the World Bank and the Korea Development Institute convened a global conference on the science of delivery. Several development institutions assembled including the Gates Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, UNICEF, the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and the mHealth Alliance. We discussed development opportunities and challenges when focusing on the extremely poor, including experiments in health care, how technology is reducing costs and increasing effectiveness, and the difficulty of moving from successful pilots to delivery at scale.
 
The consensus in Seoul was that a science of delivery underscores the importance of a data-driven and rigorous process to understand what works, under what conditions, why, and how. Too often in international development, we jump to conclusions without understanding counterfactuals and assume we can replicate success without understanding its constituent elements.


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